To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.
~ Leonard Bernstein

business woman with ringbinders

© Grafvision – Fotolia.com

In the last 30 days, our daughter married the man of her dreams and we hosted a beautiful wedding with almost 300 guests, our retail store held a 4 day in-store event (Tropical Beach Party) where we served a complimentary lunch for three days, held two out of store Gourmet & Entertaining events in clients’ homes, are prepping for another 4 day event in the store this week,  AND welcomed a new granddaughter who was born on July 7. Did I mention that I am writing this while doing a Retail Show in another state? … Oh, and yes, launching this Remarkable Retailer Blog at the same time! CRAZY? No! OVERWHELMING? YES!

The Road to REMARKABLE sometimes takes detours for REAL LIFE! Of course, we did know these events were coming and did as much pre-planning as possible, but when they all start happening it is easy to get overwhelmed with the tasks that you must get done in such a limited time.  Besides these “life events” there are the daily tasks of running your business.  Placing orders, managing staff members, paperwork, bill paying and taking care of your family and clients. Plus, there are Emails to write, Facebook Updates to post, Photos to pin to Pinterest and the list goes on and on. There are times that I wake up with all the wheels spinning in my head and I just can’t go back to sleep. So what is an entrepreneur to do?  What are some tools and methods we can use when it all gets to be so overwhelming?  Here are a few tips you can implement to save the day!

CHOOSE your BATTLES! Prioritize like crazy! What absolutely must be done and what can be put off until your life settles down a bit?  What items can you delegate out to a team member? What services can you take advantage of to get the help that you need? Entrepreneurs tend to think that they are alone in the battle, but in reality many business owners {myself included} could do a better job of asking for help when it is needed.  Look at all the tasks you do, and for each one ask, “Am I the only person who can do this task in the entire world?” Some tasks are yours alone; others can be delegated to an administrative assistant, another staff person, a temporary employee, etc. During stressful times, I have used a laundry service, housekeeping service, hired someone to run errands, used a caterer for meals, etc. so that I could spend my limited time focusing on top tier projects.  As a business owner, my #1 priority is to “Make it Rain” for our business, so I have to let some other things go in order to focus on bringing customers into our business.

F.O.C.U.S. Follow One Course Until Success.  This is one of my favorite mantras from Entrepreneur on Fire‘s host, John Lee Dumas. Choose one task and focus solely on that until it is complete. Stop multitasking; it will only lead you to feeling more overwhelmed. When you are facing a tremendously busy time, it helps to break things down into manageable “chunks” and FOCUS until that one project is taken care of.  In the last month, this has meant grouping wedding tasks together and making those particular phone calls all at the same time, spending an hour just doing paperwork and nothing else, and spending groups of time doing all social media posts together so you can fully concentrate and get it done.

Admit That You Can’t Do It All To do lists come in every size, shape and form and I think I have tried every way imaginable to keep mine under control.  From online versions such as Evernote,  to my favorite yellow notepads from Office Max, there will never be a perfect solution to the ever growing To-Do list.  Here is what Karyn Greenstreet, author of The Self-Employed Success Blog says about hers: “I have a To Do list that is six typewritten pages long. Every time I have a brilliant idea for a new project, I add it to the To Do list. As surely as the sun rises each morning, the more I add to the list, the more overwhelmed I feel. Then I had a startling insight: I will never be finished with my To Do list. I will always have wonderful new projects that I want to add. I will always have maintenance tasks that need to be performed. There will always be emails to answer and phone calls to make.

Once I understood that I would never get it all done, then it was only a baby step to the knowledge that I can’t do it all myself. Either I have to delegate projects and tasks, or I have to delete them from my list. If you are serious about not feeling burned out and overwhelmed, then the first place to start making cuts is in your To Do list.”

The Power is in Your Hands Many of my peers and fellow entrepreneurs tell me they feel overwhelmed by running their own small business. It doesn’t matter whether your business is brand new or 31 years old like mine is, there are just so many things to juggle as a business owner. You are not alone in feeling this way! Here are some common denominators:

  • Trying to be everything to everyone
  • Trying to focus on too many things at once
  • Underestimating how long projects will take
  • Not saying “no” to people and projects

Every time you make a choice to do too much, you make a choice to feel overwhelmed. However, you are in control. You are in control of your calendar. You are in control of which projects are top priority. You are in control of your thoughts about your business. You’re even in control about whether you answer a ringing phone or not.

Hire Great People There is no substitute for having great people on your team! I could not have made it through the last 30 days without our awesome staff members who “picked up the towel” and went above and beyond the call of duty at work.  They really pulled together and kept our retail store running beautifully even though I was not there.  I knew our clients would be taken care of, that the store would be in good shape, and that any “fires” would be put out before they were destructive. Hiring great people takes time, and it is one of my least favorite tasks on the To-Do list, but so worth it when you have the right people working together.

It’s OK to Relax Schedule time away from your business. It’s so easy to say this and write it down here in this post, but it is Oh! So! Hard! To! Do! Have you created your “Bucket List”?  Are you working on checking some of those things off? I would challenge you to write down five or six things that you love to do, that relax and renew your soul, and get at least one of those items on the calendar. Go and visit your grandchildren, put your toes in the ocean, take a cruise, go on a mission trip, ride your bike along a river, soak in hot mineral water or whatever it is that you love to do, get it scheduled and go do it! Life is too short to work all the time!

As always, we love to hear from you as you travel this Road to Remarkable! Sign up to receive our email newsletter where you’ll find actionable advice and inspiration right in your inbox! When you sign up, you’ll receive a LINK to our FREE Remarkable Retailer Resource eBook. Have a great week! ~Vicki

Vicki Adrian


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4 thoughts on “Overwhelmed?

    • Thank you so much Flo! I appreciate you and Steve being “Cheerleaders” for both me and the rest of our community. You ROCK! ~Vicki

  1. Vickie. Thank you for reassuring me of our commonality. Business can be exciting, challenging and so many times tugging at you to choose work or family. Feeling a little guilty when you chose family. Everything you said is so true and I thank you for reminding me each day has many paths offered to us. We just need to keep the faith. Joanne

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments Joanne. I think we all go through these times of trying to balance out our lives with family, business and community involvement. I heard someone say that our business and personal life is never in balance, the scale is always tipping one direction or the other. The goal is to keep striving for that goal! Have a great week! ~Vicki